Saturday, May 3, 2008

More excuses

Had a rough week on prod support this week although that doesn't explain the low miles. After Saturday's 20 in the mountains, rode 32 miles on the Schwinn on Saturday. Ran 8 miles on the track on Monday and then 4 on Thursday - the day I got paged at 2:30 am and then worked all day (and the next) on the solution. The left heel started burning again on Thursday. I still think the problem is that I'm not running enough and tightening up in the big stretches between workouts. I'm trying to have each hard workout interleaved with a barefoot run. The heel doesn't bother me on the bike however. OK - I'm off to run barefoot in the park for a little. No mountains while I'm on prod support (and there is a lingering issue from last night).

P.S. If I post on a regular basis, maybe that will embarass me into sticking to plans.


atwell said...


I read that you like to run up Mt Baldy in training. I plan to run AC this year, and thought that might be a good run for me too.

Could you explain how to get there, where to park, and which trail to take (is there only one)? Do you take the 210? Which exit?


Jay Anderson said...

Sure - sorry for the delay in answering.
Assuming you're coming from the west...
Take the 210 to Baseline Rd. Turn left on Baseline. In one block, turn right (north) on Padua. Maybe a mile north of that, turn right on Mt. Baldy Rd. Take that several miles as it climbs into the mountains. There is a way to go up Mt. Baldy from Mt. Baldy Village but the main two ways are from a place called Manker Flats. Continue past town a mile or two until you get to Ice House Canyon. If you don't have an Adventure Pass, you can buy it here from Dee Hansen who also sells honey. Otherwise, turn left and start goin g up a series of switchbacks, some with very sharp turns. About 2 miles past and 1000' above Ice House Canyon, you get to a place where the road is divided. Falls Road is at the place where a road cuts left through the divider. Park here somewhere in the gravel next to the road or in the divider. Falls Road is on the left hand side of the road. Go up past the gate (on foot now). You'll get to where you can see the waterfall after a little bit. The road makes a hairpin turn to the right and continues up the ridges until you get to the Notch which is a restaurant at about 7600'. You've gone about 3.5 miles at this point. It is about 5.5. miles farther to the peak.
If you pass the restaurant, the road leads to a saddle point where you can see the Cajon Pass. Turn left and go uphill on the jeep trail to go to Mt. Baldy. Turn right and go uphill on the jeep trail/ski slope to go to Thunder Mountain. Thunder Mountain is about 1.5 miles from here and is a relatively safe climb with no real drop offs.
The Jeep trail goes maybe 1.5 miles up Mt. Baldy (actually, you'll pass Mt. Harwood first on the way to Baldy). After you pass the top of a ski lift, the jeep trail ends and single track trail begins. This is the part called Devil's Backbone with dangerous drop offs on one or both sides. After a mile or so of dangerous and scary stuff, you'll be on the left flank of Mt. Harwood where there are some sections which are a slight downhill. There is a tricky spot toward the end of this section.
From the saddle between Mt. Harwood and Mt. Baldy, it is a steep and rocky mile or so with reportedly about 1200' gain in one mile and with some sections at a 100% grade.
A few years ago when I was in much better shape, I could run every step of the way to the top if I only did one rep. and did up to 4 reps between Saturday and Sunday. You can die up here - primarily from falls but also from other causes such as exposure and lightning. Two men died on Baldy a few winters back. A friend of mine broke his ankle and survived a few nights out in the open a couple of years back. The largest rattlesnake I've ever seen in the wild was near the jeep trail going up on the Baldy Side. I'm not sure if Mt. Lions get up this high.

My advice would be to go up with someone who knows the way and is willing to turn around if you are uncomfortable for some reason. The first time I got to Devil's Backbone, I turned around. The next time, I felt more acclimated to the elevation and went farther but it might not have been until my fifth time up when I finally got to the peak.
One more thing to watch for - Getting lost on the way back down. When you are going up, the goal is obvious - the top. When you are going back down, it is not so obvious. If there is cloud cover at the top of the peak, you might want to descend with someone else who is confident of the way, at least for the first mile down to the saddle with Mt. Harwood. After that, the trail is more obvious. I think in one of the first Baldy Peaks race, some of the runners ended up in Wrightwood!
Hope this helps.